I never really drank coffee until I went to Medical School. Between the very cold winters and the late night and early morning studying I became a fan. Let's just say I spent a lot of time studying in coffee shops all over Manhattan, so I drank my fair share. It even got to the point where the shop owner of the little market at the end of my block knew exactly how I took my coffee, and often had it ready before I had a chance to order. Residency was more sleepless nights than I want to remember, so the coffee kept flowing.
Lately I had been trying to cut back. I only keep decaf at my house now, but there is always a pot brewing at work. Often I am the one who is begging for the coffee to be made as I drag myself into the office after an early am workout.
This coffee maker is now on it's third home in the office. When I first started it was in the central administrative area, but the admin decided no more food or drinks out in the office. Then it moved to an empty office, but now someone is taking that over. Knowing my addiction to the caffeinated stuff, the nurses asked me if I would be able to provide a home for our little friend. I almost said no, as I was having visions of me drinking cup after cup and bouncing around the office. But then that would mean no coffee at all, and I can't have that. So it has come to live in my office, as far away from me as possible.
The some-what nerdy, Type A, evidence based doctor in me decided that it would be a good idea to research the benefits of coffee drinking; mostly as to allow myself the addiction without guilt. Here is what I found:
"Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders." OK that may be a little too much for me, but I say stay away from the cream and the sugar for sure and it may be true!
"At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk." So you mean to tell me I can either have the jitters from the caffeine or get tremors when I'm older... I'll keep drinking!
"The remarkable thing is that a simple cup of coffee appears to have more effect on preventing Alzheimer's than the expensive pharmaceuticals currently being used to treat the disease." I've got a strong family history of Alzheimer's, so I'll keep enjoying my morning cup.
"A research team at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has shown that a combination of exercise and some caffeine protects against the destructive effects of the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation, known to induce skin cancer." I'm not as good as I should be at wearing sunscreen, so another reason to drink up.
"Coffee has numerous health benefits, and the amount of antioxidants it delivers can make a significant contribution to your fight against the damaging effects of free radicals in your body." Any help I can get on limiting the amount of damage to my body I'll take.
"It's also caffeine that makes java a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance... So powerful, in fact, that until recently, caffeine in coffee or other forms was deemed a "controlled" substance by the Olympic Games Committee, meaning that it could be consumed only in small, designated amounts by competing athletes.
That (caffeine) may include signaling you to ignore fatigue or recruit extra units of muscle for intense athletic performance. Caffeine may even have a direct effect on muscles themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction." Heck yeah! This is why I have made coffee a part of my pre-race breakfast! Even works better if you cut out all caffeine about 2 weeks prior and then have a cup on race day.
So for now, Mr. Coffee and I will share an office. I will have to employ some strong will power to keep the consumption under control, but I am looking forward to all the "health benefits" my morning cup of coffee will bring me.